Left against holding tax referendum along with election

Ljubljana – The opposition Left opposes the idea floated by PM Janez Janša to hold a referendum on amendments to the income tax act along with the general election in April and is considering withdrawing its petition for such a referendum.

“We reject the initiative for a referendum on a single issue, that is the income tax, to obscure the weight of the future we will decide in this election,” Luka Mesec, the leader of the Left, told reporters on Tuesday.

The government-sponsored amendments to the income tax act, currently stalled in parliament as the ruling coalition has been unable to secure a sufficient majority, would increase everyone’s take-home pay by raising the general tax relief.

Mesec today repeated the party’s position that the amendments were detrimental as they would create a EUR 800 million revenue shortfall. He said the extra wage money would have to be spent on healthcare or education as budget funds to keep them free would no longer be available.

He described the upcoming general election as a “plebiscite on whether Slovenia stays a democratic country or lets Janez Janša and his clique turn it into a fief”.

The election will also be a plebiscite on whether Slovenians will have a welfare state or leave the state to lobbies who will drain it so badly through tax cuts that everything will be payable, he said.

Janša floated the idea of holding the referendum sought by the Left with the election on 24 April in order to save costs at Friday’s coalition meeting at Brdo estate. “Let the Slovenians decide at last whether they are in favour of having higher pay or not,” he said.

The amendments propose for the general tax relief to be gradually reduced from the current EUR 3,500 to EUR 7,500 by 2025.

They also envisage cuts in the rate of tax on income from interest, dividends, profits and rents. Moreover, tax-free status for securities would kick in after 15 years of ownership. The tax rate for top earners is to be reduced as well.